Tag Archives: women

A Confident Walk (of Shame)

Several times a week I leave my office and trek a few blocks to the convenience store for an iced coffee – or, on zombie afternoons, 5 hour energy. Recently, the girl working the morning shift remarked, “You have such a confident walk! I always watch you when you come down the street. Some women are all [bows her head, slumps her shoulders]….but not you. It looks good!” Taken aback, I thanked her, then quickly explained…it’s all an act.

I’ve always felt that a woman walking alone should hold her chin up, her shoulders back, keep her face no-nonsense and her eyes peeled. But it doesn’t mean I’m a badass, it’s simply my preferred brand of asshole repellent. And that determined stride isn’t always the attribute it appears – like, for example, when I fuck up. Badly. In front of everyone. In front of the live studio audience known as the whole ruthless world. Nobody but nobody can embarrass me, with utmost conspicuous grandeur, the way my own fool-ass-foolery can. For instance…….

Not too long ago my boss retired, and since he was the best boss I’d ever had I went out of my way to arrange for a proper gift and send-off luncheon. The service at our chosen venue turned out to be insanely slow. So slow that, after two hours, I deemed it necessary to return to the office. I stood up, hugged my former boss and his wife, received praise from many for the efforts I’d made, bid my individual and collective farewells and confidently strode toward the door.

Upon exit I felt for my cars keys, found them, and froze.
I hadn’t driven there.
Laura had driven me there.
Laura was still inside, eating – alongside everyone I’d just said goodbye to.
I didn’t have a car.
I DID NOT HAVE A CAR!!!

The restaurant was housed inside a hotel lobby. I spotted a restroom across the way and, all of the sudden, I desperately needed to use it. What I really needed was time to think. What was I going to do? How was I going to play this off? How was I going to go back to work without going back in THERE first? Because I could NOT go back in there. EVER. A fate worse than death awaited me in there: fate, thy name is humiliation.

I sat in the bathroom racking my brain for a way out, any way at all; any way that didn’t involve a public walk of shame. Did I mention the members of our party were the restaurant’s only patrons that day?  Oh yeah. 20+ colleagues seated at one long table, smack dab in the center of the place, with an open, positively grand view of the entrance. Right stinking there. No sneaking back in, unnoticed. No sir. And no way around my predicament, either. No ma’am.

So, with my chin held high, my shoulders rolled back, my face set firm and my eyes avoiding direct contact with any other human being, I glided back into the dining room as swiftly as possible. At the sight of me, my boss raised a curious eyebrow and a few heads turned my way, but most were engaged in conversation, and I thought I might just come out of this unscathed. That’s when Laura greeted me….with a clap. A slow clap.
Joined by others. Including my husband.
“I’m surprised you didn’t call a cab,” she said.

OH MY GOD! WHY DIDN’T I CALL A CAB!!!!
My brain is so (blonde) fired.

Dear Niki

Shortly after my birthday in 2011, inspired by a Plinky prompt, I wrote a letter to my-one-year-in-the-future-self. It’s sat in the drafts section of my email box ever since. Read it this morning, and I’d like to thank 34 year old Niki for the smiles. I’d also like to assure her that the future is bright, and all poop-related catastrophes have been contained.

Dear 35 Year Old Niki,

Hey, it’s me, 34 Year Old Niki. How’s it going? Have your Master’s Degree yet? Haha. Yeah, I thought you’d laugh (and then cry) at that.

Hope things are going well for you, obviously. At the very least, I hope you’re not still changing diapers. I also hope your husband is home from South Korea, that your marriage took no significant hits from the separation, that your eldest is transitioning into preteendome as smoothly as a girl that age can, and that your toddler is moving into preschooler territory without much protest – and by “protest” you know I really mean still pooping her pants. Or pooping in the bath tub. Or pooping on a hotel carpet (REMEMBER THAT?!  Right after you’d signed that waiver saying you had no pets in the room).

I hope you found, or are in the process of finding, a job that isn’t soul-sucking, pays for more than just childcare expenses, and is even slightly interesting. Because (and this is just my year younger than you opinion here, but) I really think you need to get out of the house. However, if you’re still living in the same town (and it would be a miracle if you found a job at all in that town) I don’t fault you for staying home. I know I do.

How was turning 35, anyway?  Did you sob naked in a bathtub? After taking stock of the effects time has wrought on your matronly body, and that face you should have been slathering Ponds upon, years ago?  That would be a shame. Because, from my end of things, I’ve been doing my best to prepare you for middle age. And, yes, 35 is considered the commencement of middle age, according to the US Census. I looked that shit up. I’m busy mentally picturing the type of middle-aged woman you want to be, but I haven’t arrived at the image yet. I hope you do.

I also hope you’re still happy, because – though nothing is perfect – I am. I’m deeply grateful for the health and happiness of my children, my family, my friends, the strength of my marriage, and, however limited, the stability of our finances. And any time I want to kvetch that my boobs are less awesome or that I see the begining of jowls, I check-in with the reality of real world heartache – which can be found, en masse, around any domestic or international bend. I have a feeling, in the years to come, “healthy perspective” is going to be your very best friend.

Thus, I hope you’re graceful (in your old, tired, decrepit age). I hope this is the beginning of a new era for you. If, in letting go of youth, and those unrealized dreams, you let go of self-doubt and increase your own personal level of “what the hell”, and actually GO for things, that would be cool. Grabbing life by the ballsack has never been your thing – or even your purpose, I think. Your journey has been of a deeply personal, behind-the-scenes, under-the-hood sort. A quiet evolution of the soul. But, ball-grabbing aside, surely it’s time to give life a thuroughly serious titty twister.

Most of all, and most importantly, you’ve hibernated long enough: GET OUT OF THE FUCKING HOUSE.

Oh, and don’t start smoking again, either. Dummy.

With immensely selfish love,
34 Year Old Niki

Happy Birthday: You’re Gonna Die!

Having spent a couple of frightening years as an insurance agent, I can say, without a doubt, that I am 100% satisfied with my current insurance company. Their rates, coupled with their customer service and corporate ethics, are seemingly unrivaled. HOWEVER, they need to stop sending me the postcard that reads, “Hey, you’ve got a birthday coming up! You might want to think about getting that life insurance soon, while it’s still somewhat affordable for you to do so…hag.” Every year. For real. Just stop.

Hurry! Before you DIE and we can’t collect any premium from you!

And since when did it become okay to call a lady out on her age! Did you see that? The “34” in there. Clearly a typo!
Well, I never.

I understand the importance of life insurance. I truly do. I also understand, having worked in the industry, what a huge money-maker a life policy is for an insurance company, and the push that exists to accumulate them. But, reminding a woman that she’s ever closer to tea time with the Reaper, and attempting to impart the urgency of her purchasing a policy by informing her that her rates will only increase upon her next birthday – because she is that much closer to DEATH – is a brand of marketing genius well beyond my rapidly aging brain’s capacity to comprehend.

I can only imagine the message waiting for me in next year’s postcard.

“Dear Mrs. D:
Since you’ll be turning 35 this year, and since you’ve yet to purchase a life policy, it’s obvious you’re exhibiting signs of early dementia. But, never fear, it’s not too late to protect your family from both your old-womany-stubbornness and your overall accelerated decay.
Call one of our helpful agents today!”

Oil of Oy Vey

Holiday text to a Friend: “And – totally off topic – i feel REALLY fucking old lately, and if one more person calls me ma’am i’m liable to shoot them and then myself.
Ho ho ho! Meeeerry Christmas!”

My husband doesn’t think this is funny. When I ask him if he’ll still love me when my turkey wattle of an Oil of Olay neck quivers in the breeze, no laughter. When I examine my eyes and say things like, “What if my upper lids and brow droop like the bangs of a Sheepdog? What if I have English Sheepdog skin flaps that BLIND me…..do you think our health insurance covers that?” To this he just says, “Oh, Jesus Christ.”

But my lady friends, they understand. Especially on the “ma’am” score. Is there a worse word? There are days, most of which premenstrual, where I think I’d far prefer being called “stupid bitch.” “Thank you for shopping at Target today, stupid bitch. Have a nice day.”
Okay, no. But still.

It just mystifies me why every single service industry person (especially those whom rely heavily upon tips) does not call me “miss”. I would tip them a bajillion dollars! Every single time. One bajillion dollars. I know very well I’m being patronized. I know very well my potential liver spots are but a harsh florescent light away from exposure, but – if it’s done sweetly – I will totally bask in the momentary bliss of “miss”, regardless.

But the situation isn’t going to improve, we all know this. So I’ve decided the next time I’m free to enjoy some nightlife I’m going to pass on the nightclubs themselves. Instead I’ll get dolled up and head out to the finest nursing home in town. If there isn’t a “well hello, young lady” waiting for me there……

Here, Now and Tomorrow

I went a week without working out for the first time in eight months, and though the rational side of me knows I won’t automatically gain the baby weight back, the easily-spooked, guilt-ridden, nutty side of me thinks my ass already feels as though it is hanging an inch lower, and seems slightly mushier.

Being healthy is hard WORK, man. And I will never make it to All Organic Optimal Fitness Zen Master status. I don’t want to. Let it be known, right now, and for all of eternity, I AM NOT GIVING UP RED WINE OR COFFEE! YOU CAN KISS MY DRUNK, YET SEMI-ALERT ASS FIRST!

In other news – the possible moving, hubby going off to war, me running to Seattle with the kids, losing 20 thousand crazy dollars on the house news – the news that had me in such a tizzy a month ago….. it goes back to the back burner to simmer. My husband is having surgury on his elbow to correct a right hand that’s half numb, and has been so for over 6 months. Now, since that hand also opperates his trigger finger, therein lies a complication in sending him to war just now.

So, as it stands, they (Uncle Sam & Friends) will wait out his recovery before they determine our collective future. Three months recovery, at least. The news brings sighs of relief, mostly. My daughter gets to finish out the school year. My littlest toddler monkey gets more time to bond with a daddy she’s grown to really love and enjoy. We get to wait out this piece of shit housing market, and perhaps recoup a couple measly grand on our heart-sickening investment loss. AND…well…there are basically lots of “ands” that all equal upsides.

Where that puts me currently is that I’m in a place where I need to figure out what I’m going to do. I have 9 months to figure out if I’m going to get a shitty local job? Go to school? Pen my masterpiece? Eat, sleep and drink more?
The possibilities are not endless.